This guest post is by Brian Splater, an adoptive parent.
We hear it all the time:
Your kids are so lucky to have you guys.
God bless you for adopting children who needed a good home!
You guys are heroes.
I know people are trying to be kind and we appreciate your sentiment. We understand you want to communicate your opinion about our family and you want to tell us how good it is that our children have us as their dads and ended up in our home; in a loving home, but the truth is nobody ends up in need of a family because they are lucky.
I appreciate your support and I appreciate the support you’re expressing. The formation of our family is an act of choice, commitment, and love; not some issue of luck.
Our kids are not lucky to have us as their dads and we are not their Savior. We didn’t swoop in and save them.
Just because we wanted a family, like everyone else, our children will never owe us anything for being their dads. They are not indebted to us.
Next time you think about labelling a child “lucky” for being adopted, here are some things you might want to consider:
- Statistically 3-5% of adopted children will be unadopted and put back into State custody. How is this lucky?
- Many adopted children experienced emotional, verbal, and physical abuse, and most adopted children have a lifetime of trauma to work out. And this becomes the number one priority of adoptive parents; tackle their children’s trauma and help them face it. How is this lucky?
- Unlike our two children, many adopted children have been split up from their biological siblings. They have been put in separate foster homes and then adopted separately. They will be lucky to find their biological siblings later in life. This is something we know firsthand. If our children did not enter our life when they did, they would have been split up for the first time. How is this lucky?
- Before a child becomes an adopted child many of these children have been in and out of so many foster care homes that they cannot remember everything that was done to them and they cannot remember the names of those who have abused them in the first place. How is this lucky when they finally get to have parents who love them?
To add meaning and value to our children we are very happy and proud we received the opportunity to be their dads. We are proud at the amount of joy, wonder, and love our kids provide to our household.
Whatever difficulties that may come and go, we are going to love our children and we will always show them what unconditional love looks like and what it means.
We encourage our children to view themselves as cherished, not lucky to have us. We’re the lucky ones. We’re the ones who, due to nothing but grace and a little hard work, get to call them our own.
Many times it is easy for others to judge or assume. It is easy to look at someone or someone else’s life and wonder how a person could choose this or that over their biological children?
When you are raising, and when those babies become your own, you learn that there’s so much more to a story. Our responsibility is to stand up for our children and protect them from judgment and bullies. Our responsibility is to be a positive influence in our children’s lives. It’s to show them what it means to love unconditionally.
A person doesn’t adopt so their children are lucky to have them as their parents. We didn’t swoop in (or dive in if you rather) and rescue our children. This is like saying our children, or any child that has been adopted, should be forever grateful to their parents for saving them.
My children should never be told to feel grateful, count their stars, or feel any less-than. We are parent’s raising amazing human beings and we want them to see and know that love is stronger than judgment.
For being only seven and nine-years-old our children are wise beyond their years. At such young ages they have already developed the best manners, know how to treat people, and they know how to appreciate others.
They are the most kind and loving human beings I have ever known. They are the most forgiving, honest and they are fighters. I am the lucky one to have been taught these qualities even more than I had experienced before them.
I was nervous and scared at the start of our journey. I questioned myself if I was doing the right thing. I think this is one of the reasons why I get uncomfortable with being told how lucky our kids are to have us. Or hear people say they know our children needed a good home.
The process from custody to parents was about 27 months. Our adoption was in the Court for about 16 of those 27 months. Those 27 months were filled with the unknown.
We were blind and we didn’t know what was next. Those months were filled with raw emotions. If anything my husband and I are the lucky ones.
Austin Karnatz and Brian Splater have been together since May of 2014 and they have two children through adoption. Living in Superior, Ne., they started their nonprofit Ambassadors of Kindness”as a way to inspire and spread kindness around the world.
Do you have an adoptive parent or open adoption story? Email us any time or find out more about how to share it with our community.